Excavator collides with dozer at Maules Creek coal mine

A dozer and excavator have collided at the Maules Creek open cut coal mine in New South Wales with the regulator encouraging more personal awareness around mining machinery.

The incident occurred in May while the excavator finished loading a truck, and the dozer driver made a radio call to the excavator operator requesting that he had been allowed to move the dozer.

The incident involved a dozer passing through the swing radius of an excavator during slewing.

A narrow gap between the excavator and the low well was one metre narrower than the width of the dozer blade, which resulted in the excavator’s rear counterweight passed over the dozer blade and hit the dozer cabin, but the operator was not injured.

According to an investigation by the NSW Resources Regulator, the mining sequence was altered which caused the dozer blade and excavator to collide.

The regulator also founded the trained excavator operator was distracted and did not notice the dozer passing, incorrect assumptions were made by the excavator operator, video cameras and horns were not used to assist operator awareness, the mine site’s light system was not used on the excavator and hydraulic isolation of the excavator was not required.

The regulator has encouraged excavator and dozer operators to have a higher sense of awareness when dozers are operating closely to excavators and that full compliance with the mine’s procedures are undertaken for communications.

It has also suggested mine operators should implement hydraulic isolation of excavators and external warning light systems, provide information diagrams to excavator operators, and install operator awareness devices to excavators and mobile plant.

The Maules Creek mine is operated by Maules Creek Coal.

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